30 Plants per week are the Sweet Spot

Dr. Tim Spector
Podcast with Rich Roll – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nop0-lZy9cM&t=51s
I like this title. More and more as I study nutrition, the folks I most respect aren’t so adamant about whether your diet is keto, carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, omnivorous, or what have you, but that it center around lots of plants. As we are coming up on the CSA, I am happy to be an agent for so many to get the highest quality plants we can raise here at MHOF. This is a quite long podcast and it is packed with great information about the gut biome, and information about his unique approach to Citizen Science that he has manifested with the use of the Zoe app – linked here.
Zoe – https://joinzoe.com/ – Understand how food affects your body
Thanks, Jonathan, for sharing this podcast with me.

Luckily, there is always time for lunch!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

This week’s over and above staff member was Leslie Stambler, who took on the project of making labels for all of the CSA share bags. With 11 different colors, 3 different sizes, 2 for Barre folks, 3 for out of towners, it is quite an organizational project. Leslie took on this job and the extra 7 or so hours to complete it this week with great vigor and enthusiasm.

Thank you to those in supporting roles for this massive project, Jennifer, Clare and Jack – from data entry to twine cutting to bag tagging and sorting. Remember all you shareholders to return your bags each week so that you never get a bag of shame!

CSA News Week 1

At this writing we have 143 shareholders, and although we will take a few more, we will be closing the CSA for the summer in about a week or two. You can still sign up for next week – week of June 5 – and subtract $30 for a large share, $25 for a medium or $20 for a small.   If you want to join for this week – May 30, 31, June 2 – give me a call to set it up – immediately, if not sooner, as my father would say. Thanks to all of the fine folks who worked to bring in shareholders. Special recognition to Ben Wells-Tolley, who is rocking the new Warwick site, and Jennifer Peck who brought in a bunch of Athol folks at the last minute.

Best guess on what will be in your share bags this week
We have done our very best to get these early crops planted as early as possible, and covered with row cover. We actually uncovered those each week to apply the foliar feeds and then covered them back up again.

  • Hakurei turnips – on the small size this week, but growing rapidly. Think of these as white radishes when preparing. They are incredibly tasty raw, and chop up the greens, as with the radishes, in your salad

  • Chinese cabbage – this is probably our least flea beetle damaged Chinese cabbage we have grown in the spring. Great in stir fries or lightly steamed with added butter, or with tamari

  • Lettuce – we are happy with the size and quality of our first week of lettuce!

  • Cilantro – on the small size this week, but very tender

  • Green onions – I like to use these raw in salads or cooked in stir fries, scrambled eggs. Use the entire plant (except the root)

  • Kale – we might run out by Friday, in which case we will have

  • Chard – very nice quality

  • Rhubarb – one time only – enjoy rhubarb thus: chop into little pieces and boil down with a little honey. It takes about 5 minutes. Don’t add water. It makes a nice warm saucy dessert dish.

  • Oregano – our earliest perennial herb. Cook with it or eat it raw in your salads


Cheap Health Tip

Body Brushing and castor oil – under $10 for the brush, and a bottle of the castor oil in the low $30’s should last more than a month.

I have mentioned this before, but as I have now made it a regular part of my routine, I want to remind you of the wonderful support that body brushing, particularly with castor oil, can give, particularly to your lymphatic system. This system can only empty its waste through exercise. Castor oil helps to gently stimulate this system, and the body brush action moving always toward lymphatic drainage areas, will be a double benefit to overall health and internal cleanliness.
Read more about lymphatic drainage here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual_lymphatic_drainage. Remember to brush toward the arm pit area and the groin (up your legs, up your arms, down your back).
Here is the very efficient body brush that I use – Main Basics Round Brushing Body
And the castor Oil – Queen of Thrones Organic Castor Oil
Go to Queen of Thrones to learn more about the value of castor oil

Farm Videos From Last Week

We picked up 3 subscribers this week and are almost half way to our goal of 1000. Sign up today!

MHOF on YouTube

Weeding and mulching blueberries

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The shiitake set up

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Foliar feeding

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Working Shareholders Always Welcome

Sam DeLuca is back as a Saturday working shareholder. During the past two weeks we were able to get the flower boxes planted and mulched, and picked up and stored the row cover, while enjoying a nice breakfast and doing the daily chicken and seedling chores.

Ways to Donate to MHSC

Many Hands Sustainability Center – our farm non-profit

Worcester Community Fridges
We have moved very close to our goal and only need $1300 more to provide 14 summer and 14 fall shares to the Worcester Community Fridges.

If you would like to donate for shares you can make a check out to the Many Hands Sustainability Center and send to 411 Sheldon Road, Bare, MA 01005 or make a donation on line here – https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=E54BUH3JJRZ74


Workshops at MHOF

MHOF vegetable production intensive

June 10; 10-3 with pot luck lunch; $50-$100, Clare and Julie to lead; guest presenter John Duke will talk to us about microscopy and we will be looking at soil samples. This one will be jam packed with info for farmers and growers of all sizes!

Clare and I are very enthusiastic about this workshop where we will endeavor to teach you everything you can learn from us at this time of the year. Come spend the day working with us, learning our unique management methods.

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Register Here

Other Upcoming Workshops

  • The Permaculture Farm and Agroforestry hedgerows – June 24; 10-3 with pot luck lunch: $50-$100, Jono Neiger to lead
  • Cooking with your CSA share – July 22; Clare and Julie to do this one. -noon with complimentary lunch; $25-$75
  • Food preservation– September 16, Julie, Clare and Jack; 10-2 with pot luck; $50-$100

Register here

Farm Doin’s

With our last “vacation” week for the next 26 when we won’t be spending hours picking and packing CSA shares we were able to make some big strides. Monday focused on weeding and then mulching with wood chips the blueberry patch by the house, which we finished later in the week. Other mulching included some bale chopping of straw and used on kale and collards followed up by using up 8 1 cubic yard totes of leaves on kale, broccoli and chard. This is the work that I call progress work, because if it is done properly now, it can keep the plants protected from weeds, drought, erosion, and excess rain, while making the soil life very happy to do their work out of the sun. Worms go crazy under natural mulch.

Jonathan showing off the bale chopper with its extension hose

Mulchers in the chard

Staging the leaf mulch into harvest crates, later carried out into the field

In the planting department, we got corn, cilantro (round 2), dill seeds planted, and also plants of basil, tulsi and hemp. We started lettuce seeds in the greenhouse. And the flower boxes have lost their “cat shit guards”, are planted and mulched and the cats seem to have broken their habits of using the flower boxes as cat boxes. They are happily (enough) having their breakfast in the garage now.

We used the following foliar feeds this week – thanks to Jonathan, Danny and Tim for their 6:30 am attention to this job: pear and apple, peaches and others sprays, vegetative sprays for all the planted vegetable crops and a special one for cucumber seedlings and beans and potatoes. I spent the week running around in front of the sprayers uncovering the vegetable crops of their row covers. Then we picked them all up and have stored them in the barn for the season. We advanced the next batch of our own lactobacillus brew this week also.

The west field at 6:30 in the morning – the magic time of the day

Monday and Tuesday we took many tarps off of the garden and south field and stored them and their sand bags.

150 foot tarps are very heavy!

We mowed our two orchards, raked and picked up half of the hay, and the baby layer chicks moved outside this week. Shareholders picking up at the farm should come visit them in the front yard this week.

A couple of cold nights were ameliorated for the chicks with their lamps

Clare knocking out the mowing

We are taking down the chicken house in preparation for rebuilding it with a cement slab floor. This has evoked myriad memories for me of the building of it, by Jack and my dad back in 1984. My parents, and Jack’s mom, spent many days helping us build our house, this chicken house, and making it easier for us to make the transition from Dorchester to Barre with our 4 very small children back in the early 80’s. Much gratitude wells up.

And then there were the hours of work preparing the CSA bags, about 350 of them!

Despite the now longer hours and faster pace on the farm, I am very upbeat about the place we are in with management as we sit on the eve of the CSA ½ year season.


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